The Senate Estimates hearing following the Budget will the last for
quite a while when the government of the day does not control their
conduct. So, as the journal for political players and junkies, it is
our self-appointed duty to run a citizens activism campaign to give our
good Senators our views on the key questions they should be asking at
these hearings.

For instance, a heavyweight in the arts world has suggested these questions for ABC managing director Russell Balding:

  1. What is the progress on the McGarrity review into the ABC’s
    program production resources, and is this internal purchaser provider
    model – first introduced by Brian Johns and then institutionalised by
    Jonathan Shier – sustainable, and working in practice? Is it a fact
    that program producers in the ABC are routinely forced to by-pass this
    centralised in-house unit because it is unable to deliver what it
    needed?
  2. What on earth is different or worthwhile about ABC 2? Why did ABC
    TV boss Sandra Levy want to have nothing to do with it, and why is it
    run out of ABC Digital when there is nothing truly digital or
    interactive about it, and it only has an annual budget of $2 million.
    Is this a joke?
  3. Has the ABC management or Board reviewed the BBC’s Neil Report on
    the aftermath of the Hutton investigation into the Gilligan affair, and
    has the ABC determined whether any of the recommendations of this
    incredibly sensible review – wholeheatedly endorsed by the BBC
    Governors – should be picked up by the ABC?

If you’ve got a good question for the Estimates swansong, send it through to [email protected]. After July, Crikey might be the only forum for a dinky Estimates hearing.

Peter Fray

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